Banned Book

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This novel is “one of the most frequently banned by school boards throughout the country,” according to the introduction (which I suggest reading *after* finishing the book). I can see why. First there is the disrespectful language used about Crooks, the n— who maintains the barns. Of course, Steinbeck himself is respectful of this African American, but his characters are not. Then there is the “tart” or loose woman, Curley’s wife (she has no other name in the book), and her sexual advances. In addition, the men talk about going to whorehouses and speak crudely about women. There is also profanity, such as “bastard” and “God damn.” It seems to me that these “problems” all present teachable moments to students in this exploration of extreme loneliness—the isolation experienced by a black man, a disabled man (Candy), a woman (with no name), and the two main characters, George and Lennie. I wish I’d seen the 2014 Broadway dramatization starring James Franco (George) and Chris O’Dowd (Lennie).

~Rebecca

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